Channeling Andy Rooney, I ask you: “D’ya ever notice that it always takes longer to get where your destination when you don’t know how to get there?”
You fret as you drive, annoyed with the pokey drivers ahead of you, worried that you will be late for your appointment. Anxious, you may even take a wrong turn ahead of the light, and wander off course on side streets until you find your way back to the main road.
It’s maddening to not know where you are going. By comparison, the way home is a breeze, as are subsequent trips to this particular location…. Because you already know the way.
When we’re pursuing our goals, we can become impatient with our progress. Sometimes we can also doubt ourselves:
are we on the right path?
is there a shortcut we could have taken?
why is it taking me so long to get where I want to be?
why do other people seem to know where they are going?
“The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.” ~ Barbara DeAngelis
Although I can intellectually appreciate this quote and I know that it is true, that doesn’t mean that I have to like it. Change is a pain in the butt. Why can’t we just get what we want without having to change? I mean, we *know* what we want, right? Why can’t the Cosmic Vending Machine just spit it out after we’ve paid our presumed dues? (ie. getting married, graduating with a degree, landing the proper job).
Taking a moment as you lurch through the “signposts” of your life is where you decide if you really want to “drive” this direction after all.
“You don’t create your mission in life – you detect it.” ~ Viktor Frankl
This is how we hone our compass as we meander through the journey that constitute our lives. Take a moment and look back 10 years. What were the best parts of the job or career you had then. Are any derivations of them in your current position? Have you refined and enlarged a specific skill? There’s a clue that you are on the right path.
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.” ~ William James
Perhaps there is a small commonality between that person you were 10 years ago and your current iteration, but you realize upon reflection that you wish that you had more of that quality in your current life. That’s telling you that you are on a figurative side street. Double back and recommit to what makes you “come alive,” and develop it.
“Often the search proves more profitable than the goal.” ~ E. L. Konigsburg
During a conversation at lunch the other day, we were talking about the discrete but significant difference between USING a network and ENGAGING a network. When you are out there “seeking,” and contributing to your path as you travel your journey, you will interact with many people.
One sided and selfish exchanges with individuals is USING.
Lack of reciprocity and appreciation is USING.
Lack of transparency and follow through is USING.
As you learn and grow along the way, even through “wrong” turns and ill-fated shortcuts, you are growing stronger. You are gaining experience. The day will come when those folks along your path will intersect with your life. This is ENGAGING.
These intersections enrich your life, both in a literal and figurative sense. Have you ever watched the movie “Big Fish?” I cry slow, knowing tears every time I watch the telling of Albert Finney’s “Edward Bloom’s” death. As his son, who finally understands the beauty and poetry of the Tall Tale, recounts the manic journey his father takes from the hospital to the river, they encounter the various characters from his father’s storied life.
When you learn to embrace the chaos of your life, silence your worry and enhance your awareness of your true center, you will find that you are always on the right path.
Even when you are lost.